Highlighted by a pair of Isaiah McKenzie touchdowns, the Georgia Bulldogs (7-4) bested UL Lafayette (4-6) by a score of 35-21 on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
McKenzie quickly got to work, taking a handoff on the game’s opening play for a 55-yard touchdown run. It marked the first time since 2014 that the Bulldogs scored on their first play from the line of scrimmage, as McKenzie was set up by a 45-yard kickoff return from senior Reggie Davis.
The junior then ran a career-long 82 yard punt return to the endzone on his next touch, giving McKenzie a school-record five career punt returns for a touchdown while he moved to a tie for third in the SEC all-time with Vanderbilt’s Lee Nalley and Arkansas’ Joe Adams. The wide receiver finished the day with 164 all-purpose yards.
“I thought we had good juice coming out,” said head coach Kirby Smart. “Isaiah had the great run and the great punt return, and I thought the defense started off well…Early on, I saw kids playing tough, with effort, fast and aggressive. I loved the start and the energy.”
The running game continued to find success off of junior Nick Chubb, who tabbed his 17th 100-yard rushing game of his career with 108 against the Ragin’ Cajuns. Chubb was also a target for quarterback Jacob Eason with a receiving touchdown while Eason went 13-for-19 with 165 yards and a pair of touchdown throws.
The defense forced four UL Lafayette turnovers, including interceptions from sophomore Deandre Baker, senior Aaron Davis and junior Malkom Parrish. Sophomore Roquan Smith guided the Bulldogs with a team-best seven tackles while freshman Tyler Clark tallied a career-high five stops. As a unit, the defense held the Cajuns to 0-for-3 on fourth downs.
With McKenzie’s touchdowns in the opening quarter, Georgia built a 21-0 lead with 2:50 to go in the first half after a nine-yard touchdown reception from freshman Isaac Nauta. The drive was sparked by Reggie Carter forcing a Ragin’ Cajun fumble that Lorenzo Carter recovered at the visitors’ 45. However, less than a minute later, UL Lafayette put up its first score to end the half with a 21-7 lead for Georgia.
Out of the break, McKenzie was again the go-to man, hauling in a 26-yard pass to set up a one-yard touchdown run for Chubb. Leading 28-7 in the final quarter of action, Chubb found the endzone again, as Eason found the tailback for a 49-yard score. UL Lafayette closed the gap with two scores in the final 4:50, but could not climb back from the early deficit.
Georgia closes out the regular season on Saturday with Georgia Tech traveling to Athens for a noon ET kickoff on the SEC Network.